NEW DELHI: After the sinking of a dhow in the Arabian Sea before proposing to use terrorists to kill terrorists, India stepped up its vigil on Pakistan by catching a hapless pigeon that had strayed across the border on Wednesday, for suspected espionage, local reports said on Friday.

“When it comes to the India-Pakistan border, even an avian is not above suspicion,” the Indian Express reported.

It said security agencies were in a flutter over a pigeon with “Pakistani markings” that was “caught” on the border in Pathankot district of Punjab on Wednesday.

The ‘suspect’ was nabbed by villagers in the Bamial sector of Pathankot district, which is just a few kilometres away from the Pakistan border. According to reports quoted by the paper, it was injured after villagers tore off one of its wings.

The bird has ‘Shakargarh’ and ‘Narowal’ written on its body in English, along with some numbers and words in Urdu. Shakargarh tehsil is a subdivision of Narowal district in Pakistan’s Punjab province close to the border.

“We are investigating the matter and have alerted the Intelligence Bureau and the Border Security Force (BSF),” said SSP, Pathankot, R.K. Kaushal.

The district police have left nothing to chance, even getting the bird scanned to check if there was something hidden inside it. “But we did not find anything in the scan,” said the SSP.

He added that there was something written on the pigeon in Urdu and that efforts were being made to get that read.

“It may be harmless but we cannot take any chances,” he added.

Director General of BSF R.S. Kataria, based at the forces’ Punjab Frontier headquarters in Jalandhar, said the pigeon was ‘inspected’ by senior officials including the commanding officer of the BSF battalion based in the area.

“Nothing suspicious has been found as yet but we are not taking any chances,” said Kataria. He said the bird could have been used to send across a message or a SIM card to a contact across the border.

He said that recently another pigeon was found on the Indo-Pak border in another state with something tagged on its body.

This is not the first time that a pigeon has flown across the border and got caught, the Express said.

Five years back, in May 2010, another pigeon with Pakistani markings was ‘apprehended’ near the border in Amritsar sector. It was then alleged that it was a ‘spy pigeon’.

The bird was later handed over to wildlife authorities after being ‘cleared’ in investigations.

Published in Dawn, May 30th, 2015

On a mobile phone? Get the Dawn Mobile App: Apple Store | Google Play

Opinion

Poll language
17 Apr 2021

Poll language

There is a distinction between angry rhetoric and the language of the gutter.
Exempt from accountability?
Updated 17 Apr 2021

Exempt from accountability?

PM Khan has done a disservice to Pakistan by exempting certain institutions from performance requirements.
Education disrupted
Updated 16 Apr 2021

Education disrupted

The cost of not doing anything about them in terms of learning losses and dropouts are going to be very large.

Editorial

17 Apr 2021

Pak-India mediation

QUESTIONS had been swirling about what and who has prompted the latest detente between Pakistan and India. Now, it...
17 Apr 2021

Energy exploration

SOME exploration and production companies want the government to prioritise offshore exploration — a high-risk...
17 Apr 2021

Professor’s removal

IN a step that will go far in sending a message of reassurance to female students and academic staff in ...
Ban is no answer
Updated 16 Apr 2021

Ban is no answer

The ban will not dilute the narrative that fuels the party, it may even fan it.
16 Apr 2021

Slow recovery

THE pace of growth in large-scale manufacturing output continues to slow down, with LSM production contracting by...
16 Apr 2021

Ramazan profiteering

WITH the month of Ramazan underway, people have begun to feel the effects of galloping inflation even more. Prices...